For people like me who aren’t naturally brave, just getting up in the morning and leaving the house has its challenges and scary elements. I’m not talking about agoraphobia or even my formerly much higher state of perpetual anxiety, but rather the knowledge that on any ordinary day unexpectedly bad things can happen at any random moment. I know, too, that fabulous and gloriously good things can occur without any apparent reason or preface. And among the many, many things I worry about, even if I don’t outright fear them, are the unknown and loss of an undoubtedly false sense of control.
So when I get the courage to pop out of my cozy little life nest, that place wherever I feel safest and most comfortable and contented, I can have moments of feeling like some little hatchling hopping out off the ledge for the first time, not entirely sure whether my wings work yet or not, let alone whether I will know what to do with them when the time comes. Walking the last mile or so to my doctor’s appointment the other day and seeing a handsome trio of vultures lounging overhead on the telephone poles, I was inclined to make a quick inward note that I hoped the three amigos relaxing up there weren’t also considering me a potentially delicious traveling snack. My hike was, after all, only for a conversational and informational visit to the doctor, so I hoped I wasn’t looking invitingly unwell to their shiny little eyebulbs.
Heading along the highway today and seeing, conversely, the half-flattened remains of some other poor vulture where it had unexpectedly been taught its expiration date by a passing vehicle, I thought the reverse: I wish I could undo your doom, once-graceful bird. The truth is somewhere in between for me, on an average day. Whether I am predator or prey, the day will do with me—and the birds soaring around me—as it wishes. Whether any of us leaving our perches will soar or crash isn’t entirely a matter of choice and will, nor is it wholly chance, but most likely it is someplace in between on an ordinary day. I am so glad that the forces governing us all aren’t utterly capricious but are generally more benign and kindly. Even toward those of us destined to be either road kill or the ones dining on it.